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Ghost Lake (2004)

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In a small town in upstate New York, local residents were drowned as a dam was built and the town was flooded to create the Rushford Lake. One hundred years later, the souls of the drowned are becoming restless...


Jay Woelfel


Jay Woelfel





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatum Adair ... Rebecca Haster
Timothy Prindle ... Stan James
Gregory Lee Kenyon ... Sheriff Dobbs
Azure Sky Decker Azure Sky Decker ... Flora / Saundra Tompson
Chuck Franklin Chuck Franklin ... Doctor Bloch
Damian Maffei ... Young Fisherman / Son #2 on Boat
Dan Metcalf Dan Metcalf ... Old Fisherman
Linda Brown Linda Brown ... Ruth Haster
Raymond Suriani Raymond Suriani ... Richard Haster
Rick Kesler ... Reverend
Edward M. Valenta Edward M. Valenta ... Sexy Club Guy
Mary Ann Layman Mary Ann Layman ... Librarian
Carolyn Ricketts Carolyn Ricketts ... Grandma Tompson
Richard M. Kennedy Richard M. Kennedy ... Grandpa Tompson
Cindy Ohanian Cindy Ohanian ... Car Crash Wife


Rebecca Haster blames herself for the death of her parents and decides to spend sometime alone in the lakeside cottage of her parents in Rushford Lake. She meets Stan James on the road and gives a lift to the stranger. Later they become friends, while Rebecca sees supernatural events with drowned people in the lake. While searching the accidents in the library, she finds that mysterious deaths happen in the spot every thirteen years. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Evil Rises.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror images and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 April 2005 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Empty Lake See more »

Filming Locations:

Rushford, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$110,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Young Wolf Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rushford Lake in New York is a real place. The history of the lake is also real. The remains of two towns rest at the bottom of the lake which was created by a dam which was completed in 1930. See more »


As Becky is confronting Flora/Saundra in the library, we see the dollhouse behind Becky. We already know there's no one else in the library except the librarian, yet when the camera is on Becky, you can see that someone playing with puppets in the attic window of the dollhouse. See more »


Sheriff Dobbs: No, don't die... yet.
See more »


Referenced in Yes Man (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

A creepy, atmospheric little ghost story…
6 March 2005 | by JamesLiskSee all my reviews

Ghost Lake is director Jay Woelfel's attempt to revisit the spook story of old. He doffs the customary practice of most modern horror, and the standardized contention that the telling of a situation (that can often be telegraphed a mile ahead) is much more coveted, than the telling of an actual story. This should bring a smile to the face of those who long for a return to the days of classic American film, where movies featured narratives which unfolded and developed, the way they were meant to.

Woelfel has toned down the non-linear, experimental edifice prevalent throughout his earlier film work, this time hoping to integrate a more modernized story concept. Not to say that Woelfel's fans will be disappointed, because they won't. The director's vision is still there, and still very clear. He remains the master at deploying an atmospheric amalgam of abstracted horror archetypes, including an evil little girl, zombies and a beautifully serene lake which, despite its tranquil visage, might just be the gateway to Hell.

Tatum Adair, in her first film role, plays Rebecca Haster, (a name Woelfel cleverly borrows from one of HP Lovecraft's literary works The Whisperer in Darkness), retreats to her parents abandoned cottage in the scenic upstate New York area. The cottage resides along a large lake in a little out-of-the-way community known as Rushford.

In the opening minutes of the film, Rebecca is revealed to be a deeply unsettled woman, who quietly blames herself for the accidental death of her parents. Her guilt-ridden conscience has begun to play havoc on her very soul, as she is constantly confronted by her deceased parents, who appear to her as chilling and accusatory ghostly apparitions. Feeling she is losing her mind, Rebecca withdraws emotionally from everyone and everything, eventually, packing up her things and leaving home. She seeks solace in the isolation that the small lakeside community seems to promise. Little does she know the secrets that the lake hides.

At first, the residents seem to be just the typical lot you might find inhabiting any rural community in any town in the world. Though, as the film progresses, things begin to take a on a much darker tone, and, to borrow a much used phrase; "Things are not what they seem to be." Almost right away, Rebecca begins to see and hear strange things, all of which seem to emanate from the surrounding lake. She notifies the local sheriff Dobbs, when a late night swim turns up a dead body. However, the subsequent recovery effort fails to turn up said body. Later, Rebecca has a run in a with a strange little girl in a library -- a little girl that nobody else can see. There is also a frightening boat accident involving a family, which again, Rebecca bares witness to. Like before, nobody else sees it, and no bodies turn up.

As with Woelfel's other films, ambiguity is constant, in that we are never sure whether Rebecca's paranoia about the various phenomenon is grounded in reality or a figment of her disturbed imagination. Midway into the film, the audience will be questioning whether or not Rebecca is simply going mad, or if these things are really happening. The story slowly descends into a whirlpool of paranoia and fear, as the main character attempts to discern what is really going on in the small town... and in her own mind.

Rebecca methodically begins to unravel the terrifying secrets of Rushford Lake and its surrounding region. Indeed, something is odd happening, including a slew of strange accidents, bizarre deaths and murders, dating back to fifty years along the lake. Adding to the confusion is chilling story of the lake itself, which sheriff Dobbs relates under a moonlit night. Apparently, in 1928, a Power Dam was constructed to back up the water and flood the local valley. When they did this, they submerged a small town in about forty feet of water. A few of the locals who were reluctant to leave, perished. Rebecca discovers that every thirteen years, on the thirteenth day of the month, since the lake was created, a person has died -- equal to the number of victims who perished when the small town was flooded out. With the recent unusual death of a fisherman, she discerns that the cycle should have ended, but strangely, something has gone awry.

There are mercurial alteration in mood and atmosphere in the film. There is also a constant and recognizable dualism at work, as the true motivations of the various characters become apparent as the film moves forward. Unlike most movies, where the bad guy and good guy are distinguishable from the opening frame, Ghost Lake doesn't give up the ghost (please, pardon the pun) until the final frame. Woelfel offers clues, but is smart enough to know that the best endings are the ones that you can't telegraph an hour ahead. The little girl, Azure Sky Decker, who Rebecca befriends during an early morning jog, might not be as sweet and innocent as she seems, or is she? The troubled guy, Stan James, played by Timothy Prindle, that Rebecca falls for after nearly killing him, seems to have her best intentions at heart, or does he? Like her, James is working through the tragic loss of a parent, but like all the other characters in the film, it's hard to decipher whether or not he's telling her the whole story, or why he is really helping her. Lastly, there's sheriff Dobbs, played by Gregory Lee Kenyon. Behind his doggedness and investigation, lurks another person, who seems to be hiding something, just one more thing in a town seemingly filled with deep dark secrets.

By combining mystery and a creepy atmosphere, Lake is sure to entertain those who love a good ghost story. I highly recommend!

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